Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Madison Mini As Told By My Free Race Photos

Disclaimer:  I ran the Madison Mini Marathon as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me in exchange for promotion and a review of the race.  Learn more about BibRave Pro ambassador program and read and write race reviews at

The Madison Mini provided free race photos, which is always fun.  This year, they partnered with Strava to disseminate them and mine just arrived!  I really love how all of my photos really tell the story of my day so I thought it would be fun to show you all my photos with my captions:

And we're off!  Aw Shit - I almost lost my visor

Mile 1:  Running is FUN...

Mile 1:  Man, I just LOVE running

Mile 1: I even love when the photographer gets the dreaded downstroke of the leg photo. 

Mile 5/6ish: Yeesh.  This is starting to feel a little less fun, because Anne and I are no longer leading.


Mile 12ish: I do not love the downstroke leg photo as much any more



Finish line:  I LOVE RUNNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finish Line: That was SO.MUCH.FUN!!!!!!!!!!!

PODIUM FINISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean, that about sums up running a half marathon, doesn't it?! :)

You can register for next year's Madison Mini on their website.  Right now, the next 250 participants get special pricing - $59.99!

You can read my review of this race on BibRave here.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Madison Mini Race Report: New Half-Marathon PR!

Disclaimer:  I ran the Madison Mini Marathon as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me in exchange for promotion and a review of the race.  Learn more about BibRave Pro ambassador program and read and write race reviews at

I ran the Madison Mini half marathon on Saturday and it was a great race. I had a crazy week leading up to the race - a work trip to Bismarck, ND and a day trip to Green Bay for work which threw off my training schedule and my sleep schedule.  (One night in Bismarck, my Garmin shows that I got 3 hours of sleep, which I thought I was generous.)

We left for Madison on Friday morning and got to the expo at the Alliant Energy Center after lunch.  My kids were running the kids' run so they were excited to also get packets and spin wheels for prizes.  The race director for the Illinois Marathon gave Will a box of Kodiak Cakes which he is enthusiastically clutching in the photo below.
Team Schlotty at the Expo

After the Expo we checked into our hotel and walked around Allen Centennial Gardens and then to dinner at Everly.  I had salmon, broccolini and risotto cakes with a version of my favorite cocktail: the French 75 (which Nate shared with me).  [Side note: I will be eating that before every race now, ha ha ha.] After dinner, we went to the Terrace to get some ice cream, watch the band and do the scavenger hunt in Alumni Park. We did a fair amount of walking on Friday, which I was a little nervous about.

On Saturday morning, I woke up at 5 AM and ate my Picky Oats in the hotel bathroom and got dressed.  I felt very calm and well-rested, which I was happy about. I was able to braid my hair on the first try!  I left my hotel around 5:30 to run to the start as I needed to do a 2 mile warm up.  The run to the start was exactly one mile.  The night before we had gotten an email from BibRave saying we had access to the VIP area, so I went into the Memorial Union to try to find that and go to the bathroom.  The VIP area was really nice.  They had several tables set up, a breakfast buffet, coffee, separate bathrooms and gear check.  I didn't really take advantage of any of the amenities pre-race but was THRILLED to have separate bathrooms because of my bathroom snafu at this race last year.  I found the bathroom and proceeded to drink my water bottle of lemon Tailwind.  I chatted with Emily and fellow BibRave Pro, Ang in the VIP area and then went to the fountain to take the Oiselle picture.  
Ang and I like the VIPs we are! :)


I had plenty of time to go back to the bathroom several times.  At about 6:45, I headed to the start and did another little jog warm up and saw Anne!  I ran some miles of this race with Anne last year and was excited to be running with her again after Illinois.

I knew that I was in good shape given where I was in the marathon training cycle, but the crappy training week and lack of sleep gave me a little pause so my main goal for the early miles was to run by feel. I really felt like a PR was in the cards for me because I ran much of this course for the first half of the Madison Marathon last fall in a time that was a second off of my half marathon PR.  The gun went off at 7 AM and we were off.  

I felt good and was running side by side with Anne through the first mile. Two bikes came upon us and referred to us as the leading elite females.  Anne retorted, "Um, we're just two moms approaching 40" and we were laughing.  We could not believe that we were leading the race.  I made some comment about the fast people not showing up that morning and we kept running.  We did some chatting but were moving at a good pace.  Outside of a really fast second mile (6:21) we were keeping it in 6:30-6:40 land.  My brain was definitely freaking out a bit that I felt good but what if I died.  I tried to ignore it and just keep running.  I took a SIS gel at mile 5.  I kept telling myself to stay in it - don't back off when it gets hard.

I think it was around mile 6 that another woman joined us and took the lead.  I can't remember exactly.  We were running in a small pack of three at that point and there was no more chatting.  I was focused on staying with the lead and the bike escorts.  For the most part, I did this and just kept repeating to myself "just stay with her just stay with her".  I struggled through mile 9 and thought it was over.  That was my slowest mile - 6:48.  Thankfully, I was still with the leader and we headed to picnic point.  She pulled away from me sometime between the mile 10 and mile 11 markers.  

I kept up my pace and tried to keep the leader in my sights.  She was not that far ahead of me but I couldn't make my legs go faster.  We had to get to the top of the hill on Observatory Drive, which is a doozy, especially after running 12 miles.  I got to the top of the first part and thought I was not going to get to the top of the whole thing.  I crawled up the top and paused there because I felt a bit dizzy.  I am fairly certain my bike escort was probably thinking I might need a medic.  She continued talking me through  - "Just keep going c'mon you got this".  The guys around me were cheering, "Let's go - go get her [the leader] you got this."  I don't know where it came from but I started sprinting down that hill.  I am a terrible downhill runner and always hold back for fear of falling but I let it go.  The bike escort was cheering, "YES!! It's go time!  You got this!"  She had to pull off the course for the last bit but she congratulated me on a great race.  I wanted to hug her but instead awkwardly patted her on the back and thanked her for being so awesome.  She literally talked me through the entire last two miles, nonstop.

I turned the corner to the finish and was scanning the bridge over the street for my family and I heard them before I saw them and I just went crazy!  I was so so excited.  Apparently my daughter was too (make sure you have the sound on for this).

I got under the bridge and saw the finish clock and really freaked out when I saw the 1:25.  I didn't drop any f-bombs Shalane style but I crossed the finish line with my arms in the air screaming YES YES YES!!!  I just ran a 1:25:37 half marathon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Holy shitballs.
Fellow Flower Amy took this shot of me approaching the finish!

I was handed my medal and a hat and so many people gave me high fives, including all the guys I was running with.  One even congratulated me on my kick.  I gave a hug to the first and third place women and cheered Anne to her PR 4th place finish.  So many sweaty hugs and smiles.
Anne and I at the finish!
My daughter made sure I rang the PR bell!
By this time, I realized that I had not stopped my watch at the finish line, as my splits below will indicate.  Apparently my frantic movements throughout the finish line and with my family are really a 11:29 pace mile, ha ha ha.

We all went to the Terrace to get our post-race beer and the awards ceremony.  Casey Fitzrandolph, an Olympic speedskater, gave us our trophies and he told me that he thought I made it look easy to which I laughed.
Awards ceremony - cool Terrace chair in the foreground

We then headed to the VIP area to see if Ang and Jonathan, the two other BibRave Pros who were running the race were there.  I saw Ang, but missed Jonathan due to the fact that my daughter was super anxious to get to the start of the kids' race.

The race does a great job with the kids' race.  This is the second year in a row that my kids did it.  My son was pretty nervous beforehand, but was all smiles during and afterwards.

Bucky Badger does an amazing job with the kids before the race.  I managed to snag a selfie with him between heats wearing my new Madison Mini Marathon hat:
We had a great morning at the race and I'm already looking forward to next year!!  Put this race on your list if you haven't already participated!
2019 Team Schlotty on State Street Post-Madison Mini

I can't remember a race where I heard so many cheers consistently throughout.  The water stations were amazing (The girls' swim team on Old University (around mile 9) is on of my faves).  We had great weather - a tad humid but otherwise perfect. 

I am heading into the final weeks of my training for Chicago Marathon with a lot of confidence!

Medal, Trophy and a Hat! 

I did it for the insta. ha ha ha

Friday, August 9, 2019

Madison Mini Marathon in one week!

Disclaimer:  I am running the Madison Mini Marathon as a BibRave Pro, which means my entry fee was covered for me in exchange for promotion and a review of the race.  Learn more about BibRave Pro ambassador program and read and write race reviews at

Marathon training continues to move along.  I am about to wrap up my tenth week of training for the Chicago Marathon.  En route to that, I am running a half marathon next weekend (8/17) in Madison, WI.

I am returning to the Madison Mini Marathon!  Despite having a less than stellar race at this race last year, I LOVED the event so I am thrilled to run it for the second year in a row.  I actually was thinking that I don't repeat many races these days so the fact that I am repeating this race says a lot!  (You can read about last year's race here.)

While my priority has been marathon training (I just hit my first ever 70+ mile week last week!), I think that I can squeak out a half marathon PR next weekend.  The course is a bit hilly, but it is very similar to the first half of the Madison Marathon and during that race in Fall 2018, I DID PR my half marathon by 1 second.  My current half marathon PR is 1:28:35 and my first half split of Madison Marathon was 1:28:34.

The race is really well organized, you run through UW Madison campus (my alma mater!), the shirts are cool, the medals are blingy, you get free race photos and a beer on the terrace after the race.  Honestly, that comes quite close to perfect for me.

My only remaining to-do is get my kids registered for the kids' race.  They had a great time with this race last year...or maybe they just liked meeting Bucky Badger.

My family is excited to spend a long weekend in Madison as well.  Madison is always a family favorite vacation spot for us.

If you want to run the Madison Mini, you can take $15 off the half marathon entry fee with code BIBRAVE15 and $5 off the 5K entry fee with BIBRAVE5.  Registration closes on 8/16 at 11 AM CDT.